tv Profile Interview - Kellyanne Conway CSPAN December 9, 2017 4:52pm-5:36pm EST
justice, sonja sotomayor. greatyou went to a really school. you have impressive people willing to speak up for you in the form of recommendation letters. you hope for one of a very small number of judges that has clerks at the court. for a person of color, to get into that pool, there are so ity obstacles to that becomes a real problem. it hurts. perspective of diverse law clerks is so important. if there was a case where i felt i saw something that because of my life experience that someone else did not see. >> tune in sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span. profile andan, a interview with white house
counselor kellyanne conway. she sat down with us to discuss her personal and professional life and what it is like serving in the trump administration. nearly a year into your job at the white house what has , been the biggest learning curve for you? ms. conway: the biggest learning curve has been transitioning from the private sector to public service. i have always admired those who entered public service but never envisioned myself going that route. and so to recognize that you now have the responsibility and the gravity of performing and speaking sometimes on behalf of the president and to the nation on behalf of the nation is a responsibility i take very seriously. i think it is that particular transition. also, just to recognize the different rules and regulations governmentto one's service at this level, there seem to be many in number.
and we in the trump administration as part of the commitment to transparency and accountability have gone farther than other administrations in terms of committing ourselves to ethics and other regulatory measures. to be very aware of those it takes a constant vigilance. host: when you walked through the gates on january 20, president trump is our effort -- 41st -- 45th president, what we thinking? ms. conway: i was also thinking what it meant to turn 50 years old, because that is what happened that day. but also what an incredible , privilege and blessing it is to be part of that. a blessing for someone raised by a single mom. i hope it inspires of the people to work hard and dream big. and be a little lucky along the way as well. also, steve, the incredibly and
norma's task in front of us, people are constantly saying, that was a campaign promise or something he said on the trail, so it feels like he has to do it. to feel like you have to do big things like reduce taxes on the middle class or get 30 million americans do without health care even after obamacare, keep the country more safe and notperous, those are campaign promises, those are moral imperatives. and you see the waiting us -- tasks.ness of those and there is guilt in not working around the clock. you want to get so much done. notur case, trump speed, swamp speed, which is a completely different case from what washington is used to. steve: what is trump speed? ms. conway: constantly
intellectually and physically and constantly thinking about the next big thing to execute on. donald trump as a successful businessman of decades functions much the way he does as president, which is he wants , many different ideas and inputs and individuals and issues to be brought to him on a constant basis. he is someone who has the country sees now for themselves, requires very little sleep, is filled with energy and ideas and he is accustomed to doing things in a way that there is product -- progress and deliverable and constant motion. i am not sure, i am sure that washington is not accustomed to that. i think battleships turn very slowly. in this business inertia is a , powerful physical force unless met by friction and he is the friction. he is that force that wants us to move forward more expeditiously and accomplish many things. beginning of the
administration a number of different executive actions being taken. those are measures president trump could implement notdiately through his pen, waiting for the legislative process. when he had an opportunity to do that, whether it is doing world back because it was unfair to taxpayers or public owners or public school parents are small business owners, or coal miners, he did that immediately. he tried to renegotiate major trade deals. tpc, foring us out of example. and yet he is us into keystone and dakota access pipeline. these all occurred in his first one to two weeks of office. that set the tone for the type of president he would have liked to have been.
you see the way the stock market, the consumer confidence, the employment numbers, the small business formation numbers, the national manufacturing numbers, all these robust leading indicators of the prosperity this president has brought to our nation. it does not was get covered enough and does not get covered fully or fairly, but the people say it. i travel weekly for this administration and i am not in front of sanitized audiences of supporters. there are folks, i have no idea how they voted or how much they voted, i do not much care. people say keep pushing. promises. even people who do not vote for say it isent, they what they always do.
steve: he is critical of his critics both democratic and republican. is that the new norm when he goes after senator jeff flake, bob corker and mccain? ms. conway: he has good relations with them at different times. i would say i know other administrations will disagree because there's a complaint of different administrations. especially to members of the media. you would be hard-pressed to quantitatively find a more criticized public figure in the last however many years. that is just a fact. the way the office of the presidency is described by some people particularly those whose , job is to cover it. it is regrettable. it is regrettable to me, who was raised to respect to the office of the presidency, and its current occupant, whether you supported that person or not at the ballot box, you supported that person because they are the leader of the free world, the
commander-in-chief of the armed forces those brave men and women , are making sacrifices every single day that i can hardly fathom. i believe we are the men and women in uniform and debt of gratitude that is not easy to repay. and so when i think about all that it just seems like this constant tug-of-war. there are many responsible journalists out there, reporters out there, outlets out there, that are trying to get this story. but there are many more that are trying to get this president, and aren't interested in getting the story. steve: who is getting it right, as a journalist? kellyanne: there are a few out there and they've have really taken the time to get to know this decision-making process, why he has picked the cabinet
that he has. i think they have demonstrated leadership skills on their own. we have many success stories in our departments and agencies that don't always get fair and full coverage, but make an impact in people's everyday lives. what the epa has been able to do, the department of energy, certainly the v.a.,. 24/7 hotline at the white house. for the first time. gotten,viously had not when the president made the announcement a few months ago, the was the blower and protect annexed. we had to be a accountability act, the v.a. choice act, that allows our veterans to seek care in the private sector if they cannot achieve that with the be a, which most veterans say they can't. but the president has always said, if we don't take care of our veterans, who are we as a nation. it's bigger than just one piece of the veterans agenda, and he
gave us a call to action, saying who are we as a nation. what our teams have been able to do in putting isis in retreat if not full on defeat and i can go on. i could go on, obviously the , small business administration and dhs at the border. that alone is the market -- is the mark of leadership, someone who pulls together very respectable men and women who have had previous careers in public and private service who are willing to serve this president and this nation at this time, and do it effectively. so i think it is very easy to accentuate the negative. i think we are at a time in our culture where it is easy to complain and cheap and easy to be a naysayer and a critic. i choose, because i don't know how else to survive, i choose to be a little bit more sunshine and light and think about things more positively and
take the full measure of everyone. so that if you are going to focus on one error from one person or transgression, or in , the case of anyone one tweet or one article or one statement, or one piece of legislation, you're not looking at the full measure of the individual or the issue. and washington is a city of institutions, not of individuals. and i think that is a recognition of fact that not everyone ends up appreciating. and those folks who do, do well in public service. you have to subvert your ego to the greater good. i'm not here to read about myself, i am not here to think about myself, i hear for something so much bigger than me, and that is a lesson that a lot of folks can understand. i have said publicly and privately that there are only two people here who were elected to do anything, and their names are donald trump and michael pence. and you need to get with the
program and get in or get out. it does not mean being blindly loyal and marching in lockstep and never disagreeing. actually it means the opposite. is a great boss, for many reasons, and particularly a great boss for women and this working mother. for many reasons, that i would happy to get to. but fundamentally he invites and accept and expects this agreement and dissension and the diversity of viewpoints of backgrounds and inputs, on nearly every issue. and you have to appreciate that. and if you can't feel free to disagree respectfully or to dissent or to give an alternate point of view to something, you really shouldn't be here. you should get out of that job. i feel great to work in
a place at this time in our great nation's history, for a man to men, the president and vice president who appreciate the value of other people. whether they are getting that anecdotally or from their senior advisors are cabinet officials. i appreciate the fact that he surrounds himself with folks who are not afraid to say no, who are not always saying yes and who respect them enough as the two people who were elected to do anything here, to make the ultimate decisions. steve: let me follow on the media and i want to talk about you. who is getting it right? where do you go for information? what do you read if you want to get a sense of what is happening? kellyanne: i read it all. it is regrettable that so much of the country is curating information only to reinforce their own point of view. and it seems to me that much of our programming is geared that way.
thank you for c-span, which is not geared that way. but much of the media have become curated to appease the audience that already exists, and you can see that with the chyron's that exist, the screaming headlines. you will look up and see one about something that is going on in the white house today, and it is flatly false, it is not true. it will say, at the white house, and if you go to the source, someone familiar or someone close to the white house, i think maybe they mean the coffee shop across the street. i don't know. but i think that is regrettable that people with more , information sources we have, the less people become reliant on information sources where they just go and, people have written about this for years. it didn't happen overnight. therew that we have just, is information overload, actually many americans now suffer from information underload on the primary information -- on the primary stories of the day. the idea will cover whether tax reform will pass before they
tell you what is in the bill. it -- because it is easier. it is a cheap, easy way to cover the story. they want to tell you who is up and down in the white house rather than the stock market is up and the unemployment rate is down, which is something people care about. where people stand on the issues and on this president has an awful lot to do with where they are sitting and the beliefs they have brought to bear. i feel like the 2016 election was a major inflection point and a major embarrassing episode for many people in the mainstream media. none of them lost their jobs. they are losing them now for different reasons. there is an cover, that if everybody was wrong but nobody lost their jobs, they skated to her, we will keep covering this man as
president and a candidate. if there are a few great white house reporters especially in print who take the time to ask , the question and do not fall into what i refer to as the culture of sameness. there is a real shame in being the same. if everybody is writing the same story and has the same headlines, everyone is leading the same cast with the same people and pundits, the same screaming headlines. if you set same screaming headlines. number one, by definition it can't possibly be breaking news if you been saying it for five days. but secondly, it is coverage that is incomplete. you are missing out on so many great stories that can be told. the first and foremost responsibility of the media which i always think we need a free and fair media and i'm a big believer in the first amendment. with that role comes a great
responsibility to get it right , and get the full story not , just part of it. the first responsibility is to connect america with information. to be critical and tough and skeptical but not negative as it has been. for every story that has been covered about individuals or palace intrigue, you're missing the opportunity to tell america what happened and how it affects them. steve: your title, counselor to the president. what does that mean? what is your portfolio? what are your duties and responsibilities? kellyanne: i remember when i told the president elect that i had decided to come into the administration because i have not made that decision for six or seven weeks and i will review why that was. my four children were and continue to be four crappy ages, for mom to be doing this job. they are 14, 13, 9, and eight. and my proudest accomplishment of my life is to be their mother, far and above to being counselor to the president and campaign manager.
my children,on to which were the first for reasons not to come in, i was staring at a gold mine of life-changing money. and that was very attractive to me why wouldn't it be? the other reason was that i really felt that, professionally speaking my , greatest assets would be as an outside adviser, to counsel him from the outside and make sure we had the surroundsound system, this political operation and policy operation where we would have constant ads and grassroots support and informing the public about repairing and replacing obamacare, renegotiating trade agreements, about energy development, prosperity and infrastructure in tax cuts and the like. i felt like we needed to continue that for the president and his
administration. also, the president said what would you like to do and he knows i said no to press secretary and commerce director. i had worked in policy for because decades before i moved to new york. and i love policy. portfolio. a policy and they said what would you like to work on? i would like to give support to your major initiatives, obamacare, tax cuts, anything having to do with infrastructure, anything having to do with pro-life, which is a big issue to me. he has been an amazing pro-life president. he has been a very effective pro-life president in his first year. so to have my portfolio in areas, like opioids, the scourge of our times, 64,000 americans dying just last year up from 52,000 a year before. , military spouse employment, those are the two i highlight.
areas that i consider to be nonpartisan issues in search of bipartisan solutions. if you are a democratic senator watching this interview right now, why not, on board with what we are trained -- what we are trying to back of the the opioid crisis. why not tell the people in your state, i am joining with the president and with his chief advisers to bring relief to my state, to our state, so that families no longer suffer, folks no longer descend into addiction, so that we destigmatize. so many americans are afraid, they feel ashamed to come and say i have a problem or my friend ordered my child has a problem and we are losing people unnecessarily to drug addiction,
to misuse. opioids tricks the mind. it starts out in mom and dad's medicine cabinet, that little bottle of pills, it has the family doctor and the the family doctor and the pharmacy. a tricks you into thinking it was there to help so if you just took a piece of it this one time it will not be which is not the case. military
spouse and planet, we have done a good job in the public and private sectors making sure that our veterans have opportunities and skills opportunities when they come back from being overseas or when they are no longer active military. we are trying to extend that reach to our active military spouses who are 92% female and many are acting like single moms. they have the responsibility being single moms while he is overseas. topping out military spouses to access employment, they face needing to be reassigned, to have reassignments and move every two or three years. it is difficult to find employment. we find for them it is the licensing and credentialing that gets in the way so we have five or six licensing compacts between the state. if you are a licensed attorney or nurse or cosmetologist in missouri, then you get reassigned to camp lejeune, why do have to pay that money and wait to get relicensed if you are in good standing and you have been working? we try to connect them with opportunities and that regard. and break down the barriers. when you make that commitment is a family commitment. the spouses incredibly patriotic, is very resilient and proving that he or she can multitask and a great decision makers as someone copes and so to hook them up with the
economy or small business administration, we are working to provide those opportunities. thank you for going into some issues quickly. people should know what we are working on when you're asking , about this, ask how you can help because we are doing this for this nation. this drug epidemic, attorney general sessions said it is the worst in our nations history. and statistically, it is. steve: who is to blame? kellyand: oh, gosh, there is a spectrum of actors to blame and that means there is a spectrum of us possible actors that can help. there is over prescribing
by the medical community and you have the major pharmacies and pharmaceuticals are all too happy to fill those prescriptions. you have our major pharmaceutical companies, the major chain drugstores and trinity pharmacists say we are not going to give you 30 days -- 30-day supplies. we have had republican governors working in places like new jersey to go from that 30 day to three or five or seven days. also pain is the fifth indicator. we're having health care by emoji. unless you tell your doctor that you are the smiley face when you are leaving we have to make sure you never feel pain. in a highly educated wealthy country there is the idea that no one should feel pain. why not? why not take a couple of extra aspirin and not have the bottles
of pills in your cabinet. i want to make clear we're not talking about chronic pain sufferers and the millions who suffer. we are talking about the sports industry, dental procedures, the surgery, temporal pain, temporary and sudden pain relief. what we're finding out is that pain management need not mean pain medicine. i took a trip not so long ago with secretary of the v.a. shulkin and governor christie and patrick kennedy who has been , a great advocate about mental health in this country. we took a trip to the va in cleveland. we have to blame also the porous border. the president quoted a statistic about drug demand. he and the first lady are taking on major policy issues together, and i hope the country memorized every word, because they are
action,all of us to their calling all of us to get involved. the president made clear that there is drug demand and drug supply. he said 90% of the heroin in this country is coming from the southern border. we know we have a fentanyl, learn that word, please americans. we have a problem in this country. the baltimore sun ran an article that fentanyl is a bigger killer than homicides in the city of baltimore. i talked to governors who tell us they -- i talk to governors who tell us they cannot keep up with the fentanyl explosion in their states, fentanyl is being laced and into the drug 50 times the potency of morphine. young adults are working out for two or three hours a day, they will not put a french fry in their mouth but they buy a pill for five dollars and they are dead the next day. fry in your mouth and don't take the pill. that is my advice. do not take the pill. more likely than not these days from
these campuses the pill is laced with fentanyl which is a major killer. that is coming in from china the best we can tell, through all of our sourcing. and it is being manufactured there and brought into the country through our males, through our ports, airports, we need reinforcements. we need brave men and women at our border and dea agents to have the tools they need to be able to intercept a lot of this fentanyl and make sure it is not destroying our communities because it is. steve: you compared growing up in new jersey as "golden girls" meets "jersey." what was it like, what was your upbringing? kellyanne: it was the gift that keeps on giving. i was raised by
four italian catholic women. my mom and her mother and two other sisters raised me. my uncle through marriage gave me a great example of a successful, healthy marriage. to grow up in a house of adult women that means i did very little for myself. but it means i was taught to be a giver, not a taker. and we had pictures up of the last supper. we never had pictures of john kennedy and ronald reagan. i cannot recall a political conversation, ever. not until i was assigned by my local high school they , were assigned to cover two presidential conventions in 1984. that summer i was going into my , senior year in high school. president reagan visited my high school, and i got to meet him.
went first, and i thought there is geraldine ferraro, god rest her soul. also italianerraro , and catholic. i thought that was amazing, a , woman as vice president. then i turned to the republican convention next week, and heard ronald reagan's speech. here is a man four times my age, i was 17 and he was 68. we came from a different coast, different gender, but he spoke in a way that was optimistic and uplifting. but he spoke about some very dark issues like the soviet union, and the growing threat of communism. and i just felt that he appealed to me in the way that the other party had not the week before. and i gave fair and full coverage before. there wasn't a twitter then. i was hooked then on politics, and on republican
politics. and i just missed the ability to vote for ronald reagan for two and half months. what i was really struck, that in a household to be raised with a relationship with my grandmother, and i had it relationships with both my grandmothers, very strong ones. i see that is the gift that and keeps on giving. there is something to that wisdom and that love and the ability to pass on family legacy. and i think the humility from that greatest generation certainly, where people gave and did not take, where they looked at their country as immigrants. they looked at their country as a place, that the united states of america is a place of promise and opportunity and safety, and a place where women have rights. and girls can go out and do anything they want. i appreciate the fact that i was and able to leave that small modest household in new jersey, pursue my dreams.
my parents did not go to college, let alone law school, and rise to be a campaign manager and entrepreneur, and counselor to the president certainly. young girls run up to , me all the time. i say, we of first the job female president of the united states of america, and you should vote for her. and i will say to my own daughter most people won't , pursue a career in politics. but we do live in a country where i am very happy for my three daughters, and indy my son, who will be a father and husband someday. we live in a great country where rights, i think it is a wonderful time to be a woman, to be a young girl in this country. as someone who tried to start the conversation over a year ago as campaign manager on sexual
misconduct, i am glad to see that people are jumping in, alb eit later in the game. i don't think anyone really wanted to hear my voice because of the campaign i was managing, but good. that is great. steve: this may be obvious, but why mary tyler moore as a role model? kellyanne: i was not say role -- i would not say will model. i would not look at it that way. my mother looked at that genre of television in the 1970's, and she had received the first issue issue of "ms." magazine. which i find, at the time she was divorced, ironic. a woman raising two daughters on her own. mary tyler moore, a career woman who did not get have to get
married. i think it showed women being something other than a wife and mother in the household. i think it showed another dimension. i grew up liking carol burnett and lucille ball it was appointment tv. you had to sit down and watch it. you did not have life on demand. my role models are the women who raised me. they will always be. i think in part because they are not household names. they never saw celebrity. the richness and graciousness of my mother and my grandmothers and my three ants they never sought fame or glory , or power, or even wealth. their legacies are the people that have raised and the they name.t to the family and i'm very sorry that we grew up -- sorry that we live in a time where my children grew up very quickly. they can all read, and they can read what is written about their
mother. it will not be easy for them, but that is a good lesson too, that just because somebody says something does not make it true. and to learn to pray for those who are not just less fortunate, but also are less happy than you. there are a lot of miserable people in the world who feel better, i suppose attacking a , total stranger for how she looks or where she works. but it teaches my children that their catholicism, they must pray for those that are in such a dark place that they would feel such hatred and a such whoseto a total stranger, greatest sin is trying to do well and being imperfect, for they country that she loves so much. steve: whose greatest sin does the president bear any responsibility for this discourse? kellyanne: we all their responsibility. we are all a part of it. but i think you would have to ask the question more specifically for me to give a
more fair answer. i am just shocked, and i won't i won't dignify the venom by doing that, but what is said about this president for forngs, four ad revenues, people who no longer have access to him, or never did, for them to try to navigate their own way through the donald trump presidency, through the power structure, instead of taking the time to learn and write a thoughtful, intelligent article, or give a wall-reasoned appearance on tv, it's just easier to make something go viral, to get attention, to attack, attack, attack. i think that is regrettable. most of the president's twitter feed is about policy. most of what he uposts are posts thingsat he
from his foreign trips, policy descriptions, pennsylvania, talking about health care reform. manufacturing reform. but that is not scintillating enough. light. not heat and actually, that is light, not heat. so it does not get as much coverage. unfortunately, our culture has been very coarsened over a number of years and when the culture looks the other way, how do you explain this murderer going free? somebody who was deported five times. why was he here? why was he on the loose? why does he get to walk away scott free, when the 32-year-old innocent women whose last words were, help me dad. why?
i think people have every right to ask themselves, why? that happened long before donald trump occupied 1600 pennsylvania avenue. steve: let me conclude with a couple personal notes. is your codename blueberry? kellyanne: that has been written about, and i don't want to reveal any state secrets by saying yes. but i was told to pick something with the letter b, so i picked blueberry because it has been a part of my life. i grew up on a blueberry farm for the ages of 12 to it was legal to work there 20. the 1970's and 1980's. i talked a lot and i learned a lot about leadership and honest daysd an work for an honest day's wage. i no longer have secret service protection. i quickly found that the men and women network and the secret foren and women who work the secret service are unbelievably brave and humble,
amazing public servants. i am also happy that my family and has a little bit more freedom and privacy, and that they threat level is reducing. i -- threat level was reduced in a way that made people feel free, so that is true blueberry. ,steve: four kids. how do you juggle it all? ms. conway: the children come first, the house structure comes first. by the time i get to the white house by 7:30 in the morning, there has already been cheerful chaos hours on end. sure, i used to work out more, i used to sleep more. but it is the greatest privilege in my life to be their mother, but they come first. they're all -- there are a lot of working moms who make sure they are not disappointing -- there are a lot of working moms.
i volunteer for something, and to make sure i am not disappointing the four people that matter to me in this world. children in this world want us to be fully present. i won't trick myself into saying, here i am in the house, therefore they can watch this tv and they can watch that tv. the technology is put away. we engage and try to do a lot of one-on-one time with them, because there are four of them. i am in only child and my husband is an only child. it is a totally different than what we are accustomed to. i feel a great responsibility in raising tomorrow's citizens. i teach them the golden rule. i teach them to try to be the bigger person and be forgiving and show mercy, and know they are imperfect children being raised by imperfect parents. that they are very privileged, they have resources and access that most adults, let alone children in this country lack. we try to raise them with a certain conscientiousness of the
world. it is easier for them to see hypocrisy and narrowmindedness also. steve: final question -- have you given thought as to how long you will stay in this position? ms. conway: i have not given thought to leaving. i am amazed how many people do. in three months i will be here one year. public service is a noble calling. oneve always said from day that the thing that would push me out earlier than i would want to leave or should leave is my responsibility to my family. i have an elderly relative who is ailing, and children of ages that are very reliant on me. that would do it. no matter from the inside or outside, i will continue to fight for this president and vice president's agenda, because i believe in
restoring a free market to democracy and doing my small part at this fraught time to ensure the nation's security, prosperity, transparency, accountability. i grew up around forgotten men and women. i saw a lot of their faces at -- in the folks at our rallies. many of them run up to me at airports where i am, just in everyday life. i feel so privileged to be part of them. once you are part of that, you are always a part of that. i feel we can do well by them, by continuing to be vigilant. i plan on being here deceased or numbers -- to see through a number of the major initiatives. highest useest and of these issues the most , important for my family -- i want to repeat what i said almost a year ago when i decided to come in. a liberal commentator said -- i
said, leave him alone. i hope he appreciated that, i never got a thank you. he said, i don't know how she will have this big job in the white house and raise four kids, and he was excoriated immediately. i will say to you what i said then nobody ever asks the guys, , what are you going to do with your golf game and mistress? once you take these big jobs. i don't play golf and i do not have a mistress, so i have a lot of extra time people don't. i still don't play golf, i do not have a mistress. i plan on staying inside. steve: kellyanne conway, thank you. ms. conway: it has been a real pleasure. c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. >> today, president trump was in
jackson, mississippi for the opening of the mississippi civil rights museum of history. he spoke during a private event after a tour of the new museum. this is just over 10 minutes. [applause] >> thank you, good morning. please, please. as we walk through the civil rights museum, judge anderson, the group and the president of the united states of america, i was moved again. of the emotion that comes over you in waves as you see the past , the struggle, the conflict, i am so very proud that the president of the united states was here to see and witness it. i am proud that dr. ben carson, secretary of hud,